• Viewpoint: Selecting the 5 most important papers in the first 50 years of the Journal of Range Management

      McClaran, M. P. (Society for Range Management, 2000-05-01)
      A graduate seminar to select the 5 most important papers published in the first 50 years of the Journal of Range Management (JRM), 1948–1997, cultivated an appreciation for the development of the discipline of rangeland science and management, and provided some historical perspective to judge the JRM. A review of textbooks, and papers describing early milestones and the use of citation counting were helpful in developing criteria to discriminate the importance of papers. The greatest disagreement among the 9 participants focused on the use of citation counts as a criterion: 2 students used only counts and 3 students refused to use counts. Eighteen papers received at least 1 vote as a top 5 paper, and 2 plant succession-vegetation monitoring papers were clearly the most popular. The exercise revealed that discontent with the JRM is not new. Although the JRM now covers a wider variety of topics, including both reductionist and synthetic works, some students felt that it was less encompassing of multiple values of rangelands and the breadth of rangeland science than recent texts. The students found that the selection of important papers expanded their understanding of the discipline and their resolve to publish in the JRM. Ideally, others will be challenged to perform this review for the benefit of students, the discipline, and the JRM.
    • Western ragweed effects on herbaceous standing crop in Great Plains grasslands

      Vermeire, L. T.; Gillen, R. L. (Society for Range Management, 2000-05-01)
      Western ragweed [Ambrosia psilostachya DC. ], a major forb species in mixed and tallgrass prairies, is considered to have little value for cattle grazing but is an important food item for bobwhite quail [Colinus virginianus]. While often thought to be a strong increaser with grazing pressure, information on the actual relationship between western ragweed and grasses is contradictory. Our objectives were to 1) determine the effect of western ragweed on grass standing crop, and 2) determine the effect of vegetation type and grazing on survival and shoot morphology of western ragweed. Western ragweed did not appear to reduce grass standing crop. Instead, standing crop (40 to 620 kg ha-1) and density (6 to 41 shoots m-2) of western ragweed were positively related to grass and grass-forb standing crop in mixed prairie. Standing crop of western ragweed was not related to grass standing crop in tallgrass prairie. Competitive thresholds for western ragweed in mixed and tallgrass prairies appear to be above the levels observed in this study. Density of western ragweed shoots decreased over the growing season under both grazed and ungrazed treatments. Survival of western ragweed shoots from June to September was greater in mixed prairie (81%) than in tallgrass prairie (63%) and was greater in ungrazed (76%) than grazed plots (68%). Western ragweed shoots weighed less per unit of height in tall grassprairie. Western ragweed shoots in ungrazed plots were taller than shoots in grazed plots but weighed less per unit of height. These differences in shoot morphology are consistent with increased competition for light in tallgrass prairie and in ungrazed sites. Western ragweed may not directly reduce grass standing crop but, rather, increase only when grasses are reduced by other stresses such as improper grazing.